Three poems by Bruce McRae
Momentous irony in lyrical passages.
Meridians of radiance in general concordance
with the what and the why and the where.
I’m writing a love song in cigarette ash.
It’s like bejiggering a fly-button,
razzing the nexus, spinning on interwoven pinions.
A song about life ministering life,
about death pining itself to death,
a song of purgatorial evanescence.
Why so coy, feigning ignorance? This angular pretense,
you can cut the con, the aw shucks ma’am routine;
you know precisely what I’m saying –
that here is another song dripping in machismo,
oozing with belle letters, that’s positively pulsating.
There’s sex appeal all over its fingers and teats.
It’s wringing with the fragrances of fallen angels.
A song containing massive physiological connotations.
Riding the nucleonic tidal bore.
Gyrating salaciously in the salient mainstream.
There’s also impudence and impotence in equal shares.
And a disproportionate cheerfulness.
We’re reconfiguring iambic preconceptions
before returning, eventually, to the source of our nature.
Like the undead, we’re covered in taproots and lichen and moss.
For ten thousand years we’ve been priming the soil.
Of Time And Mind
The rain turns back, a slick-footed messenger.
The rain mutters something under its breath.
The rain. Its small furies. Its night-blessed auguries.
Countless mirrors are breaking over a curb,
pewter bells, cymbals of heft and velocity,
bantam pipes skirling in the arbutus’ branches,
like glassy-eyed fairies skipping in the garden.
The rain can only fall, everything down,
everything under its wheels and heels.
The rain at night, grey unto grey.
Making landfall. Strident. Uninhibited.
Rewriting summer’s epistle, repeating its chorus.
Rain, with nowhere to cower or hide.
That’s pouring out its farthings and dimes.
Silver spurs. Grey eyes. Obsidian sweat-drops.
October rain in the wee hours,
alien clang from the dockyards,
a scent of leaf-fall and wet earth,
a seaplane’s basso profundo growling
over a darkling sea . . .
Morning’s littlest uprising,
so much to be written and read,
clouds mirthlessly knocking noggins,
streetlights reflecting, deflecting, diffused,
the firmament’s porcelain a belated orange,
an odd light betwixt post-midnight and pre-dawn,
darkness merely hinting at darkness,
daybreak in the next room rehearsing its lines,
a play in verse, words biting into the page
before leaping into that broiling inferno
of time, place and mind.
One has to ask: Is this all of what there is?
The lackluster music of room temperature.
Moments dissembling, then reassembling,
a harsh light between sleeps . . .
One is forced to ask, what hurts?
What moves under night?
Is there still an above and a below?
Questions asking other questions . . .
Glib with history, a distant siren replies.
The Scent of The Moon
Night makes its usual suggestions.
Night makes some unnatural requests.
Night blanches at the mention of morning.
It has a frontier and trout stream
coursing lazily through.
We cross under its fencing,
searchlights combing the pompadour of grasses,
bloodhounds baying at the scent of the moon.
Night heading north, facing east . . .
Its blackface reminding me of burnt forest,
star-white remnants tearing at battered leafage.
Night reminds me of a stone figure, a craven image
with hunched posture and teeth missing.
Electric lights are its jewelry.
It enjoys throwing money about.
There’s always a dancehall and comb
caught somewhere in its brushwire hair.
Night, with its slippers and cocaine.
Chewing on the carpeting.
Installing bulletproof mirrors over its bed.
Night, its rambling dissertation on night-stuff,
on night’s benighted qualities; composed
of misshapen proportions but an absolute charm.
Night is an artist working without yellow,
its ouvre cavernous, its palette black ‘n’ blue,
its milieu an eyeless multitude
in the chin-deep métier of slumber, they who panic,
who pass water, who hold in a river’s last breath;
night last seen adrift on a salt-flavoured sea,
last heard mining the subliminal morass.
The night after night, marking a great want.
Seeking higher communion.
The tyrant Insomnia bullying the sleepless for rent.
Night putting a cockroach to bed.
Fighting its way toward the Obscured.
Hunting the nightingale for its throat feathers.
Mulling over Death’s terrible necessity.
Yawning and calling to the mistbound loon.
Night, with its lumps of honey and doors ajar.
My ghost-writer. Its unspeakable nom de plume.
That entertains the clucking meteorites.
A noose in its satchel. A knife in its shoe.
With its feelers out and groping, groping,
discovering its true face in the looking-glass
and liking very much what it sees there.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,600 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ (Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’; (Cawing Crow Press); ‘Like As If’ (Pski’s Porch); ‘Hearsay’ (The Poet’s Haven).